I AM indebted for the facts relative to ancient Grouse disease to an old keeper who served for fifty years on the Argyll estates. In his boyhood he accompanied his grandfather (a fox-hunter by profession) on his rounds, and from him gathered information about Grouse and other matters back to about the year 1750. According to this old fox-hunter, whose trips in pursuit of his quarry extended to most parts of Argyll, Red Grouse (Lagopus scoticus) were scarce during his lifetime, though Blackgame (Lyrurus t. britcmnicus) were plentiful, affording sport with the unwieldy musket then in use. My informart began his career as a keeper in the year 1842, at which period no shootings had ever been let in Kintyre. The Duke of Argyll in that year placed a head, and five under-men, on the ground, to kill down the vermin and await the coming of possible tenants. At this period (1842) Grouse were scarce, but increased rapidly in number owing to the measures taken for their protection. A Captain McGregor was the first Grouse tenant in Kintyre. He was succeeded by Mr. St. John, whose writings helped so much to popularize the Highlands as a sporting resort. He held the ” Moil ” shooting but one season, giving place to a party of gentlemen known as the ” Company,” and in the second year of their tenancy, the year 1846, Grouse disease made its first (and worst) appearance. The keepers, prior to the outbreak, were not aware of the
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British Birds – how it works
BB 2000 Ltd, the company that owns and publishes British Birds, is run by a board of directors, all of whom are volunteers. The company employs two full time staff – Roger Riddington is the journal’s editor while Hazel Jenner manages subscriptions and administration – and three part-time design/editorial staff.
The company is wholly owned by The British Birds Charitable Trust (BBCT, registered charity no. 1089422). Neither the company directors nor the trustees are paid for their services, providing their time and enthusiasm because they passionately believe in the value of BB. The Company is managed with a view to making a small profit which can be donated to the Trust to help fund its charitable work.
Over the past six years, this, combined with donations from other sources, has enabled the Trust to give almost £70,000 support to a variety of conservation and educational projects ranging from rat eradication on seabird islands to the study of cuckoo migration, as well as assisting young birders develop their interest.
A full list of projects is given here. The Trust is seeking to expand its charitable endeavours and would welcome donations from like-minded organisations and individuals.